The No Sugar Thing

So. The no sugar thing.

One week back on no sugar for me and I feel like I am firmly rooted in health and happiness again. This is without question one of the things I need to do to take care of myself.

However, for the number of you who have been commenting lately on how going off sugar has not been that amazing for you: understood. Totally understood.

For me, I think the largest reason, by far, that no sugar is such a big deal for me physically and mentally is because it is a bizarre addiction/compulsion trigger. Something about indulging in it affects me so much like alcohol or drugs, it’s positively mind-blowing. I lose all sense of decorum or sanity.

So I ingest and ingest and ingest. I feel like “bingeing” doesn’t quite cover it. Then, all that extra sugar, fat and (thousands and thousands… and thousands… of) calories makes me feel heavy and bloated. I quickly gain back lost fat and start sagging around my middle. I can’t do strength/ab work. I can’t run at my usual level of speed or distance. I stop sleeping well because I get terrible night sweats.

Then my mental state goes spiraling out of control. My self-image, about both my physical appearance and my mental strength (and sanity), goes down the tubes. I lie to Steve about how much I am eating (huge red flashing sign). I become depressed and agitated and anxious and angry.

This all happens within a week or two of eating sweets again. It’s happened over and over for a very long time and I cannot seem to break the cycle. It may be partly chemical, partly mental, but it’s real. In a post a couple of months ago, I remarked:

There are different levels of damage, of course, and for many people, it may not be too late for moderation. For me, I am not so sure. Between alcohol, nicotine, food and various other things I won’t go into, I have hammered that pleasure center in my brain with too much reward. After 30 years of that, I don’t know if there is any healing my brain 100%.

So yes. It’s a huge thing for me. But, I know it isn’t like that for everyone. Case in point: Steve stopped eating sugar that same 5 weeks I did. He slept a little better and he lost some fat around his middle, but he would not by any stretch say that it was life-changing or earth-shattering, just better for his overall health.

Bottom line: I am not a “no sugar” evangelist. I am doing it for me for multiple and complex reasons. But I truly believe in the idea that it’s different strokes for different folks. If being off sugar 100% feels perfect to you, then perfect. If not, if you’d rather eat sweets moderately, or even if you’d rather eat chocolate or cookies every single day, then kudos to you! Truly, more power to you.

We all must do what works for us, for our bodies, for our brains, to be the healthiest and happiest that we can be. I for me and you for you and never shall either be judged.

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